There may never have been a more challenging time to be working in public safety than right now. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 many first responders have been working excessively long hours, often for several weeks in a row to keep our communities safe. These past few weeks have been incredibly tough for law enforcement with civil unrest and calls for reform, de-funding and even dismantling of police agencies. With overtime already spiraling out of control and the long term impact of the economic slowdown, many agencies are looking back in order to chart a course forward.
It's obvious that life in the 'new normal' has already changed dramatically. But hold on to your hats – it’s just getting started. Remember only a few months ago being focused on a shortage of PPE’s and healthcare resources? Planning for those supply-chain items is still part of your future, but now multiplied 10 times over.
Going forward operational and administrative roles will merge. As policy reforms are generated, they will need to be enforced. As new training programs are required, they will need to be tracked. As recruitments decline and COVID vacancies increase, new scheduling methodologies will need to be clarified. And as tax bases drop, so will budgets. No doubt about it, this is the year of transformation.
Clearly, it’s time to focus on innovation and change. Agencies should be using this time to monitor where their budget has been so they can better plan where it’ll be going. Technology will be key. Data-driven analytics that provide actionable insights will be critical – no matter if the data revolves around costs, personnel, schedules, training, or equipment.
Are you asking the right questions?
- How can we use analytics to see where our budget has been and where it should be going forward?
- What was the cost of allocating personnel and equipment for certain events?
- How can we proactively plan for COVID vacancies?
- How can we justify our COVID reimbursement applications?
- What’s the best way to manage the fluidity of our schedules?
- How can we ensure that our personnel are receiving the right training for their roles?
- How do we track compliance with new policy reforms?
- If we restructure, how can we consolidate certain job classes and their pay changes?
Documentation and oversight tracking will be just as critical in the future as it should be right now. It is inevitable that there will be budget adjustments, risk management and legal challenges coming – and your processes will matter. Now’s the time to figure it out … not later.